Filipino man accused of killing, cooking, eating neighbour

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines - A 35-year-old Bukidnon man arrested by the police for allegedly killing, cooking and eating his neighbour in October now faces a murder complaint, according to the police.

The relatives of the victim, 65-year-old Edwin Ma, filed a complaint against Teddy Boy Villegas at the provincial prosecutors office in Bukidnon, also on Wednesday, according to Senior Insp. Danielo Bellezas, chief of the Bukidnon police's community relations office.

On October 28, authorities recovered what remained of Ma inside a banana plantation in Lantapan town after conducting a search for the victim - who was earlier reported missing.

Some parts of his body - which had been chopped off - had been found strewn on the ground while others were found inside a cooking pot.

Following an investigation, Ma's neighbour, Villegas, was taken into custody.

In a subsequent report, police said Villegas, 35, butchered Ma before cooking and eating his flesh.

It was unclear why the suspect had killed and cannibalised Ma.

Senior Police Officer I Roy Yacapin said when arrested, Villegas appeared "to be disconnected from reality" and the suspect was just smiling during interrogation.

Yacapin said Villegas might have a mental problem.

"We're having difficulty extracting answers from him because he would not answer and will just smile. We need to have him examined," Yacapin said.

Bellezas said the police would need a professional opinion from a psychiatrist to determine if Villegas was suffering from a psychological disorder.

"Only an expert can attest to his (Villegas) real mental condition in court, which will decide if he can be acquitted or penalized," Bellezas said, noting that the Lantapan police report had nothing on Villegas' family history.

He said it was also likely that the suspect was an illegal drug user.

The last time that cannibalism was reported in Bukidnon was during World War II.

Japanese soldiers had reportedly killed up to 85 Higaonon natives and consumed their remains.

Bellezas said last September, depression also drove a Bukidnon mother to hack her three children. One of her children died in the attack.

The difference with Villegas' case was that the woman did not try to cannibalize her children but attempted to commit suicide instead.